Monday, February 28, 2011

16 Hours Sequel or Return of the greyHound of Hell

A couple posts back, (16 Hours - Coming Soon), I mentioned that I would continue the chronology of events. Now that I have sat my substantial butt down to do said task, I cannot for the life of me remember what else there was to say. Except that the potential-TV-movie-that-never-was, "16 Hours", or what I like to think of now as "The greyHound of Hell", had a significantly less dramatic sequel, "Return of the greyHound of Hell". All Christmas long, I whined about having to take the bus back to the big city, to which everyone responded "Don't worry! What are the chances that something else will go wrong?" I think, like most sequels, the plot here is rather predictable. Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen, Greyhound fucked up again. The bus broke down, in, you guessed it, the mountains. Our bus driver wasn't as douchey, and the wait was less, (1.5 hrs, as opposed to 3.5 hrs), and there was no incitement to riot, but breakdown in the mountains with very limited communication we did.

Never again.

So I returned to this glorious city in time to celebrate the new year. Oh joy of joys, we stopped in on the pseudo-in-laws and then spent the rest of the evening drinking way too much at an unremarkable pub, with Not-Even-Mediocre Underage Band as the soundtrack to my not-even-mediocre evening. I think the highlight of the night, was being "randomly" chosen to receive a door-prize I did not buy a ticket for: fondue and chocolates. Or, the highlight could have been receiving a squeeze of the ass while in a group hug. Perfect time to launch such an assault, as there could be no proof of who did it. But I'm pretty sure I know who it was, and might I just say...Ew.

February holds the wedding anniversary of my sister and brother-in-law. They have now been married for a whopping 11 years! Hard to believe in one way, because I can't believe 11 years has passed since I was my sister's Maid-Of-Honour. But not so hard to believe because they were together for a lot longer than that. My sister married her high school sweetheart you see. So I've known my brother-in-law since I was about 11 years old. That's a long time. We really hit it off, because I had the maturity of an 11 year old, and he had the maturity of...well, a guy. (No offence to any male reader out there). So whenever he would come over, we would usually gang up on my sister and tease her. It was great times.

Things have changed, somewhat. The day I realized he was not a fluorescent-pants-wearing-superhero, (early 90's dork-fashion), and was actually just a dude, was pretty devastating. It was when he broke my sister's heart. They broke up for a year and in that time, he had a new girlfriend. It was a strange feeling - I actually felt betrayed. They eventually re-united, but I'm not sure if that was a good thing, since they don't seem very happy together. No kids yet either, which puts the pressure on me to give my parents the grandchildren they want.

Thanks to Quiet Girl and her MIXCD Exchange project, I've been spending time lately making playlists for people and bringing back the Mixed CD. So I made a couple for my sister and brother-in-law for their anniversary, with the theme of love, of course. I called it "Beautiful Collision" after one of the songs on the CD, by Bic Runga. (And if you do not know this song or this artist, I encourage you to check her out. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a video for the actual song "Beautiful Collision".)

The rest of January and this month of February have pretty much been a blur. I know that life is passing me by, but as of yet, I haven't been able to do much about it. Really hoping for the clarity required to make positive change in my life this year. I shall start with a commitment to a running program. It starts at the end of March and goes for 10 weeks. At the end, the participants are to take part in a 5K. Sounds painful.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Peas In A Pod

Lately, I've been feeling more lonely and depressed than ever. It's been like this for a while actually.

I used to daydream as an escape, now it's my daydreams I need to escape from. The non-stop stories in my head that go around and around and around are making me sick. There's too much static in my mind. The worst days are when the thoughts and stories in my head have been reduced to noise, where I'm thinking so many thoughts at once they are all jumbled together and are not making any sense. Sometimes I can't hold on to a thought long enough to work it out, and other times, I'm stuck on a single thought that stalks me to exhaustion. It's goes with this unsettling feeling of restlessness and exhaustion, but what's really frustrating is that I'm not doing anything that could cause me to be this tired. I really think it's my thought processes that are taking a toll on my body. I'm so emotionally done. I'm mentally exhausted and it's dragging my body and soul with it. Not to sound overly dramatic or anything. It's just how I feel.

I can't stand this loneliness anymore. And yet, I have no real desire to go out with so-called friends or to make new ones. I can barely get out of bed in the morning, I don't have the kind of energy it takes to start a new friendship or even to maintain the ones that have.

I watched a horrible, simplistic little popcorn flick called Bride Wars today. While I can't really relate to that kind of borderline psychotic obsession with having the perfect wedding, the movie was really about the bonds we make in our lifetime and the importance of maintaining those relationships that really matter. The two main characters played by Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson (I've already forgotten their character names) have been best friends since childhood, having always been there for each other through all the important transitions in their lives. And I found myself feeling very sad because I miss having that with someone. I miss having a best friend.

My childhood best friend snubbed me in high school, then moved to a big city for a year and came back gay. When she returned we were on friendly terms again, but our friendship had been broken beyond repair. And I'm sure she never gave it a second thought. I, on the hand, was absolutely devastated when I lost her. She was my other half. We were inseparable. Two peas in a pod as my mom would say, or the "giggling idiots" as this cute blond kid used to call us.

I can't help but feel that the end of this friendship had some sort of permanent effect on me. When I try and dissect my feelings from this time, I keep coming back to this one moment when I was 13, and I realized what was eating me up inside: I felt abandoned and betrayed. And I remember feeling like it would never end. That I would always feels that way. Over time, it became less painful, but I never forgot her, and I never stopped wishing we were still friends. But that's a major fault of mine. I'm always looking behind me at what's already passed.

After her, I did make another best friend in high school. But she always expected me to follow her lead, which I was content to do most of the time, only because I didn't know how to be me. There was so many times I wished I had stood up to her, wished I hadn't let her put me in uncomfortable situations. It wasn't until the senior years that I started to have more of a backbone. And then it was like her true nature came out. I had the sweetest boyfriend at this time, and instead of being happy for me, she was bitterly jealous. Needless to say, our friendship didn't last, not even to graduation. Lonely again.

(I had made another friend, who I eventually came to consider my best friend, but we grew apart when she moved away. We were re-united when I moved to this glorious city. I met my significant other at my best friend's wedding. How cheezy is that?)

Enter the college years. When my high school sweetheart and I broke up, I made a lot of friends. The only problem was they were all boys. And I wish boys made good friends but they don't. At least, not in my experience. I gained somewhat of a reputation for leading boys around on a string. But they didn't understand. I wasn't trying to mislead anyone. I just thought they were my friends. I hate being proven wrong. When a relationship developed with one of them, the rest disappeared.

Luckily, I did make one girl friend. And we were close enough through college and most of university. Only it wasn't unconditional, not for her. I went through a phase that she didn't like and we grew apart. She later told my ex, it was because she didn't like how I had changed or something. It was when I was undergoing these "changes",that I first saw a doctor about my depression. And it wasn't my best friend who took me. It was a new friend I had made. She was there for me when my own best friend had turned her nose up at me. Going to this doctor was exactly what I had always feared: humiliating and unhelpful. I broke down and started crying, and he told me to stop it, and he shoved a prescription down my throat.

That was how I began the roller coaster ride of anti-depressants. I gained 25 lbs in that first month of medication. It took a few tries to find one that helped, a little. I started seeing a therapist at the university. It may be the only reason I was able to graduate, barely.

I'm getting off-track again. Big surprise. Obviously, that friendship didn't last past university. But we still keep in contact through the infamous Facebook. She's married and has two kids and a career. Life seems pretty perfect for her. And yes, I'm a little jealous. But also sad that I've missed out on these important transitions. She posts videos of her kids and I just about cry. Her first born looks just like her.

Even though I still have that one friend that I know I can count on, the one who introduced me to the V, I have a hard time considering her to be my "best friend". I'm not sure when this happened. I tell myself it was the moment things got serious with the V, but I think it began sooner than that. And I feel awful about it. Was it just because there was too much of a gap in our friendship? She moved away and came back more than once in the teenage years. And then she moved to the city for a long time before I came here. Or is it a stubborn remembrance of how things were when we were kids? She is bold and not shy and extremely bossy.

I'm starting to think my inability to feel close to her is because I feel a lack of control over my own life. It's like a pathetic defense mechanism. I don't want her to control me so I distance myself from her, instead of being a grown-up and living my own life according to my own rules. I forget that nobody can force me to do anything. It's been my own choices that have led me to where I am today. If I'm completely honest, I think I blame her for my being in a relationship that is not right for me. Wow, that's embarrassing. But it's true. When I think back to what happened with her cousin, the V, I find myself feeling...angry. Why couldn't she see that I wasn't ready to be in another serious relationship after what happened with the last one. Instead, it seems like she pushed us together for her own reasons, because she thought, oh, wouldn't it be neat if you married my cousin, and then we could be family, and build houses next to each other, and raise our children together, and we would all live happily ever after. I wish that's the way it went down. I wish I could feel content to live this life. I wish this is what I wanted. And what if it really is? What if my depression has chewed up everything inside for so long, that I can't even tell what's real anymore? I don't trust myself. I don't trust my feelings. What if the only reason I'm not happy with him, is because I'm not happy with myself?

I think I've said enough. I'm going to try not to worry about the lack of coherence in this post.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

16 Hours - Coming Soon

It's been a while since I've posted. Procrastinating at its best folks. So far, I'm not too impressed with 2011, but let's start where I left off.

I went home for Christmas. On the bus. It should have been a 12.5 hour trek (bad enough, right?) but, surprise surprise, the bus broke down. In the mountains. I shit you not. We were stranded out in the middle of nowhere, no cell phone service, apparently no satellite service, and interestingly enough, there was no radio communication. In fact, this bus was not even equipped with a radio. What? You mean to tell me, people are paying money to be thrown together in confined stinky quarters with a bunch of stinky drunk strangers, and you have no radio??

So many things could go wrong. I'm sure most of the world, or at least North America heard about the despicable incident on a Greyhound bus where this freak cut the head off of a young man? Well, that happened not too far from here. You would think this would translate into a change in policy, a realization at how vulnerable we are when thrown together on long trips with no security. I'm not talking a complete over-reaction like the obstacle course that is American airport security, but something.

When I arrived at the bus station in this lovely city, it was packed. Like sardines. Or a Justin Bieber concert. The station itself wreaked off alcohol, and I could of sworn the employee who took my ticket also smelled like alcohol. And you know what? Way back when I was in college, I used to take the bus a lot on short trips home (I was only a couple of hours away from home at that time) and there were many times when I suspected the bus driver of smelling like liquor. What the Hell? Is this like, part of their corporate culture??

I eventually make it on to the bus, where I am terrified I will have to spend the next 13 hours sitting with a creepy drunk. I was thankful to sit with a man who was from the same small town as me, and used to know some of my cousins (I have a lot of cousins). So I'm distracting myself as best as I can, with periodic naps that last in the seconds or minutes, and listening to music. I even watched a movie on my Netbook. But 13 hours is a long time and leaves a lot of room for things to go wrong. And they did.

We broke down in the worst place imaginable. The mountains. Thankfully, it was a rest stop with a bathroom. And we were by a creek so it was pretty. But we sat there, in the winter, for three and half hours. That's a long time to be trapped in a bus with a bunch of complete strangers. Hmm. I wonder if this is even a recipe for disaster?

Our bus driver was an idiot. He did not keep us very well informed. And maybe this is even their policy over at Greyhound. Maybe they think the less the masses know, the less chance of rebellion or some shit like that. When we first broke down, he told us that another bus was on its way, so it wouldn't be long before we will be on our way again. I'm not sure what he was smoking, or if he was just misinformed by morons, but that did not happen. At some point, our bus driver actually left the rest stop, without saying a word to us passengers. As I watched through the window, he hopped inside somebody's truck. And left us. Just left us all there together in the mountains with no information. Eventually, he returned.

Just in case you were wondering, keeping people uninformed, is not the smartest way to avoid a rebellion. There was this one loud-mouth passenger with a girlfriend and a little kid with him. He stood outside with people and worked everyone up into a frenzy, though none were as worked up as he. He was pissed. And we all were. But that was no excuse. The bus driver saw that this guy was rallying other passengers and thought, "I better get out there and try and quell the rebellion". That didn't work out so well. I watched with my fellow passengers out the window, as the man berrated the bus driver, got up in his face, swore at him, making threats and accusations, and I was thinking, how quickly this situation could escalate. And what would the rest of us do? We were helpless in the mountains, with no access to communication. No security. No way to defend ourselves or the bus driver. This was potentially very, very bad.

But, I thought with dread, it's worse than that. This is the makings of a made-for-TV movie, based on real events. Strangers thrown together on a bus, stranded in the wilderness with no way out, no contact with the rest of the world. Who will start the riot and who will be brave enough to protect the passengers?

Thankfully, it was at this time that the other bus finally showed up. Crisis averted. There will be no TV movie based on the events of that horrible night.

So that was the start of my Christmas vacation. It was an odd Christmas this year. My mom agreed that it just didn't feel like Christmas at all, and that everything was just...different. The V didn't come with me. He spent Christmas with his drunken family here because he couldn't take time off work. So I went home alone. My sister and her husband also did not go home for Christmas, so it was just me and my parents. I'm from a very small community outside of a very small town, and it's usually just plain depressing for me to go home.

It was even worse this year. My parents kept asking me what was wrong,and said that I was even quieter than usual. But I just couldn't force myself to pretend that everything was okay, that I was okay. I hate it when they notice.

To top it off, I made the mistake (at the V's insistence) of changing my relationship status on Facebook, one of the many times we broke up. And of course Facebook announces to the world that I've "gone from being in a relationship, to single". So, one of my nosy cousins came by my parents for a visit, and in front of them, asked me what was going on. Like it was her right to know, or something. Sometimes I hate FB. So I made sure to leave that feature blank now, in order to avoid the drama. And what does the annoying little gossip machine that is Facebook do? Instead of announcing, I dunno, nothing, or just announcing that I took the relationship status off of my profile, it said I am "no longer single". Fuck. Anyway, point is, because of that FB fiasco, I was constantly questioned about my relationship. And I hate that. I really do. I'm a private person and I don't like talking about my feelings, especially not with my family. Ew. I avoided the questions as much as I could, and told them we were still together, end of story.

Also unusual for the holiday season, we did not receive a horde of visitors. That was depressing. You would think then that my parents would want us to go out, visiting family and friends together, but they just wanted to stick around the house like the bunch of recluses that we are.

Another anomaly, but a good one, is that I saw my long lost friend whom I've been communicating with by phone and chat the last couple of years. I knew there wouldn't be a lot of time, because he was only in town for two days, but I didn't expect it to be a whirlwind visit after 20 years - less than an hour, after 20 years. The majority of the time, we drove around looking in vain for some place that would be open on Christmas night.

I saw him for like 2 minutes in the light while he came to my door and I introduced him to my mom who then rudely told him she doesn't remember him from my childhood. After that, we were in the dark. That added to how surreal the experience was. But those two minutes made me happy. Confirmation that he really is my childhood friend. He looked exactly the same to me. Especially those ears and his blue eyes. Even his mannerisms took me back to being a kid. The rest of the "visit" was in the dark and I couldn't clearly see him, and we just had time for small talk. He dropped me off, and after a while, I was like, did that really happen? Or did I just dream it up? The only evidence that it wasn't a dream was the fact that he gave me a Buffy comic.

I also spent some time with my best friend who moved back to our hometown with her husband and four kids. I have to admit, we've grown a part a lot over the years, and since she became this stay-at-home-mom, I've felt like I've lost my best friend. Well, that combined with the fact that I live with her cousin, so now it feels more like she's his family than my friend. It really eliminates a lot of what we would have once talked about. She became obsessed with motherhood. There is this line that I remember from the original trailer for the awesome movie "500 Day of Summer" where this guy and this girl talk about having children. And the guy asks if she thinks they would be parents or people with kids? Well my friend became a parent. A new identity. A lost best friend. She became obsessed with motherhood and babies and diapers and child-rearing books. It became all she was. And it was sad. I don't think it's necessary to change your identity like that, and I hope if I ever go down that path, I will be a person with kids, not a parent. Does that make sense?

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find that she seemed to be re-gaining her sense of self. I'm happy to say she is the eccentric hippie I remember. She's really exploring herself and her spirituality and seems happier for it. In fact, she is now professionally reading tea leaves. I'm astounded at the awesomeness of that! She read my leaves, and then did another clairvoyant reading. But she was tired, and I think we have too much history for it to be an unbiased reading, so I wasn't sure what to think of it. I have heard that her readings are amazingly accurate for other people though. My great grandmother used to read tea leaves in England, so my mother tells me.

Well this is turning out to be a lot longer than I anticipated. I guess I had a lot more to say than I thought. I will continue the chronology of events in another post.